Daniel Mudd, the former Fannie Mae CEO who is the subject of a new, massive Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) fraud suit, announced Wednesday morning that he is taking a leave of absence from his current employer, Fortress Investment Group (FIG), New York.

The publicly traded FIG controls Nationstar Mortgage, Irving, Texas, a major subservicing contractor to the government-controlled Fannie. It also has been a buyer of Freddie Mac MSRs.
Until his leave of absence deal was struck, Mudd served as CEO and director of Fortress.

In a statement issued Wednesday morning Mudd said, “I have requested a leave of absence from my position as chief executive officer to ensure that any time or attention I need to focus on matters outside of Fortress will not affect the business or operations of the company.”

Late last week the SEC sued Mudd and two other former Fannie Mae executives, accusing them of making “materially false and misleading statements” regarding Fannie's exposure to subprime loans.

Mudd was fired by the government when the Federal Housing Finance Agency and Treasury Department seized control of the GSE in September 2008. Under his watch Fannie bought billions of dollars in alt-A related products, and the AAA pieces of subprime bonds.

During Mudd's tenure Fannie's top client was Countrywide Home Loans, once a top ranked subprime and Alt-A lender.

Fortress announced that Randal Nardone, Fortress' principal and co-founder, will serve as interim chief executive officer, effective immediately.

“We are grateful to Dan for his service and leadership over the past two and a half years and support his decision to take a leave of absence at this point in time,” Nardone said. “Fortress is very well-positioned today, and across our company, we remain single-mindedly focused on managing our investment funds and capitalizing on opportunities to create value for our investors. We look forward to Dan's return in the hope that matters are resolved favorably and expeditiously.”

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